There's a question that's been on my mind for quite a while: how much should you let someone edit your book? I'm not talking an agent or editor. I'm talking critique partners.
We all know the value of a great CP team and how they improve your book. However, sometimes you get one CP who is determined that an element of your book doesn't work and that you need to fix it. After consideration you decide you don't want to take their advice and hope to leave it at that. But what if they keep pushing it?
Instead of getting really annoyed and striking them off your CP list, just think. Why are they so het up about it? What has impassioned them so much that they feel the need to be so insistent on the matter?
This is where CPing gets interesting. Sometimes the issue they point out isn't the real issue:
So what do I mean by that? Well, sometimes a reader can see something that doesn't work for them and they think they know why...but they don't. Okay let's take an example:
CP:I think you should take out the MC's boyfriend as he's a limp biscuit.
You: Actually, it's a romance and she needs a boyfriend.
CP: Yeah but why would she even date him? He's so dull. You should cut him.
You: As I said, she needs a boyfriend.
CP: Make him stronger, sexier, better then.
You: Well that won't work because of his back story...
CP: LISTEN TO MEEEEE!
AUTHOR GOD: Well, perhaps you should look further back into the story. Why is it your MC loves this boyfriend? What about her past experiences drives her to find this kind of guy attractive? What strengths does she see in him that no one else does but that you can bring out more to show the reader and get them to love him too? What is it Mr Limp Biscuit does to show his devotion to his leading lady? What about his background has led him to be who he is and what are his redeeming qualities?
So you see, sometimes they say something that is general, but if you pick back through the story, there can be a flaw waaaay further back that can help fix the issue that isn't really your core problem.
Make sense? If you're not sure, leave a comment below.
Also...there will be some times that a CP is just completely wrong and it's bupkis. But never, ever discard something until you have analyzed it from all angles. You might just find a nugget of gold in there.
Tuesday, 20 October 2015
Fiona McLaren is a displaced Scot living on the sunny island of Cyprus. She's an author, scriptwriter, and editor. She works alongside Cornerstones Literary Consultancy U.S., and also takes on freelance editorial work. The most important things in her life are her boys, her family, and her partner...and lots and lots of books! She's represented by the wonderful literary agent Maura Kye-Casella at Don Congdon Associates.